TriangleART Zeus MC cartridge was recommended me by the Nigel as something I really need to try in my analog setup. As most of you know, I still by far prefer vinyl reproduction for both of my guilty pleasure listening and as medium for the testing.
MEET THE ZEUS
"We have been working with our Japanese friends, (the Japanese artisans in my opinion, are some of the best cartridge makers in the World like Koetsu, Lyra, Shelter etc.. – the list goes on and on), and have spent the last few months fine-tuning the Zeus cartridge, custom-designed to our specifications."
First hands on with Zeus MC cartridge evoked that timeless feeling one gets with the design manifesto where things are created just in the right way. With following closely the heritage of Japanese masters Tom respectfully envisioned the cartridge that would work in grand way, but at more down to the earth pricing then most of these stratosphere priced cartridges.
I've had pleasure of trying many of Japanese MC cartridges over the past decades years. They differ by miles in their sound performance. Actually, they created their own universe of sound.
For example ZYX cartridges takes a bit more modern way of voicing and bring the speed into the performance as most highlighted attribute. This might work on some systems, but you need to find the right match to not let flagship Omega or other ZYX cartridges sound to brittle and harsh. Taking a look at Koetsu brings up the different story. As much as I want to like them for the romanticised aura the original Koetsu cartridges were of the different kind. More closer to what I felt is important in achieving with the such range of cartridges. The tone! Contemporary ones are of too sweet and warm nature for me and they seems to lost that special aura, that original cartridges handmade by Sugano San had. There are many modern cartridges with the good story and different approach. One of them is Miyajima Labs, that offers and interesting design approach. Still, while Miyajima Labs sound character is less warm its still a very traditional sounding Japanese cartridge.
Now where does this all position the TriangleART Zeus MC cartridge? Tom VU managed to embraced most important double sword benefits. He combined the modern sounding specced cartridge with the traditional Japanese voicing in the very interesting and potent blend. Creating the cartridge, that is both naturally open, up to the speed with contemporary rivals and of the of right dark life-like warmness dosage is not an easy task. Everything around designing the high-end audio analog products always ends up with the voicing. Like with fine instruments of the guitar and violin family. People might argue, that high-end audio should be a transparent urging venture with ultimate goal. To some extend yes. Yet, the real holly grail of high-end audio reproduction is recreation of the real musical events. This means the timbre, tone and correct pacing of the music. Real life music never sounds harsh, to dominating and brittle. Its naturally dynamic and involving. One thing, that all Japanese cartridge artisans understood and what Tom Vu is clearly following is the understanding of of the mid range performance importance. Like with recent escapades of speakers manufacturers, where they strive to achieve the most open and pinpointed sounding loudspeakers. The race of music became the pursuit of the details rather of the music as it is. Holistic and intimate. It is the same with cartridges and other high-end audio products. Many high-end audio companies fail at the basic, primary task.
As a fact, midrange power and speed are the utmost attributes in recreating the correct illusion of any musical event! The masters of the audio craft from the previous glorious ear understood this to utmost importance. There might be the dreamlike picture painting of the sound envisioning, but this got little of nothing to do with the way real music sounds. Its more reflects the analogy of impressionist movement in classical painting or the implementation of the equalisers in studio. They both can offer an interesting artistic expeditions. Yet, they're not telling the truth. They over achieve in their behaviour. Lots of audiophiles, reviewers and music lover seems to clearly lost the real understanding of the ultra high-end audio meaning and existence, namely the ultra believable illusion of certain musical event.
TriangleART Zeus MC cartridge is created as such ultra performing transducer. The musical, via medium. Zeus vividly conway the music from the black discs in the way, that carries the energy with an intriguing ability to invoke the musical interaction. If we failed at the first and most important contact with the analog message reading up, everything else later on is just a remedy and a way of fixing what it should be done elaborately right in the first place. Most cartridges on the market are trying to do to many things at once and fail in the complexity of the matter. Its an art to know how to balance everything at creating the balance vinyl cartridge. The decisions at this level of micro solutions manufacturing are not to be to taken easily. Everything counts at such miniature level of execution to the maximum. The precision, the materials, understanding of basic physical laws and dedicated ears helps at top level of fine voicing the cartridge.
Zeus balanced sounding act is an impressive and instantly captivating experience. Its created by someone who deeply understand the music more profoundly and doesn't set with the popular easy to grasp standards. Zeus stands out!
More then all the digital audio front ends, analog cartridges and consequently connected phono preamplifier brings simplicity of musical complexity at very intricate level. In reconstructing the vocals, musical instruments and acoustical spaces, one must take the advanced understanding of the music to the level where the ignition of musical energy can take place in real emotional interaction.
We all love music dearly. Understanding and brining the reproduction of the music to the upper level of performance is a complex universe of choices. In wanting the best, you'll always there are always compromises to be taken. On grand and basic plane. This world is the odd place of endless emotional chasing and music is among the highest intimate interactive pleasures given to the human kind. It's a cultural thing and for me the analog reproduction resonate on exactly same level.
Ry Cooder Meeting By The River falls into my ten desert albums choices. From my first encounter with the recordings of Kavi Alexander Water Lily label and up to this date I think that world of music critics and music lovers don't have the right appreciation of his work. His almost transcendental urge of brining the most unique yet soulful searching albums represents something so unique, special and beautiful, that deserves more belayed attitude from all parties connected deeply to the music appreciation. For those, that I've got you're attention you'll probably do your own exploration of the Water Lily catalogue. Its a universe of difference, but for now let me try to focus on this one of the kind award winning timeless album. Share spirit and musicianship on the Meeting By The River stands out with a special aura and almost mystical appeal. There is a CD version and even HD Tracks download version, but nothing prepares you for the 45 RPM vinyl release by Analogue Production. Kavi personally supervised the mastering of the album and the result is a grand step up from all other mediums. This is my test album for hard stressing the gain simplicity ability of any cartridge and phono preamplifier. The hidden complexity of musical expression here can either let cartridge shine or collapses totally in reproduction.
TriangleART Zeus MC cartridge firmly and rigidly presented the four songs on the album. With more then enough gain and imprint that reveals the TONE of the record. If there is one record to be on top of them all and where I can lucidly judge the tone by only few notes strike, then this is the one. I know this record by hearth and as an intimate universe. Each listening voyage seems further carving the stone of my memory impression and my appreciation. To often on the west we took the music for granted and as a guided, but somehow expected result. With such attitude so much of the real depth in enjoying and experiencing of the music is left out. When one can relate and interact with the performer on certain level or plane. When removed the curtains that filtering our perception are starting to unveil the real potential of sublime music. This results in joy, relaxing and even healing as studied in past decade. This is also that in later days great John Coltrane wanted to understand and pursue, but failed to finish do his sad passing away. Without getting too esoterically involved any real so called high-end, high- performance product should evoke the real potency of music and convey the message as pure as it gets. Especially with analog media, the energy that positively affects our listening can be too quickly blocked. This is why more then often modern design analog products fail in evoking the real feelings we're experiencing at the live musical events. Many of analogue products sadly relate more to the digital side of the things.
At analog things at some points things could be breakdown to the simplified language. Either it works or it doesn't. It clicks or not! TriangleART Zeus MC cartridge proved to be the transducer, which managed to embrace the important aspect on the musical transfer while keeping all the music as intact and pure as is possible.
Same experience happened with my another favourite analog choice; Harry Belafonte Sings The Blues. Some feels, that Belafonte shouldn't have step into the shoes of Mr. Blue. Wrong assumptions. With few songs he managed to touch his inner blue mind self and connect with the real thing. God Bless The child intricate revealing of the story is accompanied by the sublime playing of the musicians. With this song its all about the silence between the notes and telling the story without telling too much. It demanded an unspoken synergy between musicians to convey it as it is. Again, TriangleART Zeus MC cartridge presented itself as a remarkably performer in extruding the best anchor points out of this vinyl.
TriangleART Zeus MC cartridge is a messenger of the 21st analogue era revival. It steps up from the previous generations of to easily recognisable sound and deals with the music within the warmness. The real dark warm nature dark tone and not the overblown muddy one.
Zeus MC cartridge is both transparent and musical with the amount of pacing, that rivals the cartridges up to 3-4 times in quite some regards. This is clearly the product of passion. Zeus MC is coming from somebody who understands and loves deeply the analog reproduction and medium.
Products are always the reflection of designer mind and TriangleART Zeus MC cartridge is for sure mirroring the Tom VU dedication for stellar analog reproduction.
For its performance and what it represent I'm happily awarding the TriangleART Zeus MC cartridge with Mono & Stereo highly recommended award. Zeus MC also became the reference addition in my analogue system. It's that good!
Text: Matej Isak
US RETAIL PRICE: $3995.00
(1) Type Moving Coil (Dynamic)
(2) Output Voltage 0.3mV (3.54cm/sec,1KHz)
(3) Frequency Response 10Hz-50KHz
(4) Channel Separation 30dB (1KHz)
(5) Channel Balance <0 .5db="" i="" z="">0>
(6) Tracking Force 2.0 gr (20?C-25?C)
(7) Trackablity >70um / 2.0gr
(8) Compliance 12 x10-6cm / dyne
(9) Internal Impedance 4ohm
(10) Load Impedance >100ohm
(11) Coil Wire 6N Copper with acryo
(12) Cantilever Material Boron solid / 0.28mm
(13) Stylus Micro-Ridge Solid Diamond
(14) Contact Radius 3um x 70um
(15) Net Weight 11gr
KT Audio Imports
Anaheim CA 92808